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Aran Inspired

Knockmany Forest

This forest includes a hilltop passage tomb, located deep in the forest north of Augher. It is topped by extraordinary decorated stones said to mark the grave of Queen Aine, who ruled during the second century. The stones are inscribed with megalithic designs that are considered among the finest from this period located in all of Ulster. To reach the tomb, visitors must climb a steep path 1-¼ miles long, that winds its way from the upper parking area. Below the hilltop monument, in another part of Knockmany Forest lies Ardushin Lough, which can be enjoyed to the fullest by following the 1-½ mile long lakeside path that proceeds through a striking group of mature Douglas Fir trees that are more than 80 years old.

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Hill of Uisneach

The Hill of Uisneach (Ish-nock) is one of Ireland's most ancient ceremonial sites, similar in importance to the Hill of Tara, though relatively few Irish people know of it. While it is today just an inconspicuous looking field, Uisneach was long a famous landmark, associated with the ancient May Day festival of Bealtaine (Bahl-tehn-ah), when people throughout Ireland lit bonfires and travelled to this hill. Located in rural County Westmeath, Uisneach was believed to be the centre of the island of Ireland. If you look at the Google map toward the bottom of this page, you can see this (zoom out). Technically, Uisneach is not exactly the geographical centre, but they didn't have GPS or satellites 2,000 years ago!

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The Céide Fields

The Céide (pronounced kay-ja) Fields at Ballycastle in Mayo are the oldest known field system in the world. At least five and a half thousand years old, the fields consisted of large tracts of land enclosed by stone walls. The Céide Fields are recognised by archaeologists worldwide as demarcating a significant milestone in the evolution of agriculture. The Céide Fields are still being excavated -- the site is over 10 square kilometers, with some of the walls running to two kilometers long. The overall site is expected to be much larger when fully excavated. Other remains uncovered or part-uncovered from the peat blanked include houses, megalithic tombs and other stone materials.

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Dunloe Ogham Stones

This loose circle of eight Ogham stones stand upright in a small, ringed enclosure, near Dunloe Castle, along the Ring of Kerry. Seven of the stones were rescued from an underground passage at Coolmagort, in nearby Beaufort village. The central stone was taken from the ruined church at Kilbonane, which is also close by.  The Coolmagort slabs were not originally standing stones; instead they were laid horizontally, forming the roof of the subterranean structure. They date from the 5th or 6th century. Because they spent most of their lives in the interior, they are better preserved than many other Ogham stones.

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Ferriter's Cove

Ferriter's Cove, a small bay  located at the most westerly point of Dingle Peninsula, has evidence of Ireland's most ancient farming settlements. Ferriter's Cove is a popular sea-fishing spot. Catches here include cod, sea bass, coalfish, cod, dogfish, pollock and flounder. The cove offers fantastic raw scenery, with strong Atlantic waves gushing into the bay -- but Ferriter's Cove is famous for more than scenery. Near Doon Head and the village of Ballyferriter, this important Bronze Age Site was excavated throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and made a major contribution to our understanding of ancient Irish history.

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Gallarus Oratory

The Gallarus Oratory in the Dingle Peninsula is an early medieval stone church in the shape of an upturned boat. Overlooking Smerwick Harbour, also known as Ard na Caithne, and about two miles from the village of Ballyferriter, the Oratory is the best example of an unusual architectural style that was once common in this region of County Kerry. The Gaelic name for the Oratory is Séipéilín Ghallarais (Shay-pay-leen Gah-lah-rass), meaning "The Church of the Place of the Outsiders" -- outsiders being people who were not from the Dingle region.

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The Burren

The Burren is a vast, other-worldly landscape in County Clare, created in the ice age by karstic limestone rock. An area of about 100 square miles (160 sq km), The Burren is located in the north-west corner of county Clare. Bordered on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, with Galway Bay to the northwest, the Burren gets its name from the Gaelic word Boireann, meaning rocky place. Formed by glacial action, this wilderness of sparse soil is at times flat and sloping, at others broken by hillsides of limestone. These are in turn separated by imposing cliffs, containing tranquil valleys, peacefully meandering streams, and beautiful beaches. Visitors typically take a drive or bus through this region after visiting the nearby Cliffs of Moher, stopping off in Lisdoonvarna -- the main (albeit small) town in the Burren -- before heading north to Galway city.

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Skellig Michael and the Beehive Huts

Twelve kilometers off the coast of County Kerry and part of the Ring of Kerry, Skellig Michael is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and rises dramatically to an altitude of 700 feet above the sea. It is an impressive site that features beehive monastic cells, also called dochans (pronounced "duckawns"), perched above nearly vertical cliffs. The beehive huts were home to the Augustinian Order of monks lived between to the 6th to 13th centuries. Skellig comes from the Irish word Sceilg, which means "rock in the ocean". Skellig Michael, or Greater Skellig, is the larger of two Skellig islands.

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Reask Monastery

The remains of the Reask Monastic Site can be found 2 km outside of Ballyferriter in County Kerry on the Dingle Peninsula. This 6th-century site is a fine example of an early medieval period Irish monastery. Reask is derived from the Irish An Riasc, meaning "the marsh." The site has been designated an Irish national monument. The location is also scenic -- a good view of Smerwick Harbour can be seen in the distance.

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Staigue Fort

This circular stone fortification is one of the most ancient attractions along the Ring of Kerry route. It is located roughly half-way between the villages of Caherdaniel and Sneem. No-one knows for sure when the building was constructed, but experts believe it was between 2,000 and 2,500 years ago. While it is currently in partial ruin due to its age and the fact that it was constructed without any mortar or cement -- a technique common to the period. In fact, it remains the best preserved dry stone structure of its period in Ireland.

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